French Magazine Provokes Islam

French Magazine Provokes Islam

FRED DUFOUR/AFP/GettyImages

America might be keeling over apologetically before Islam. But the French aren’t.

It’s hard to know what exactly Charlie Hebdo, the popular French satire magazine, was thinking. On the front cover of Wednesday’s issue, the magazine depicted an ultra-orthodox Jew pushing the prophet Mohammed in a wheelchair, with the heading “do not mock.” Inside the issue were other inflammatory cartoons, including several of Mohammed naked.

Some consider this a brave expression of free speech. Others say it was a careless act of stupidity and insensitivity.

To many Muslims, it was a highly offensive gesture tantamount to an act of war.

Consider the timing too. North Africa and the Middle East are still reeling from a wave of violent anti-American, anti-Western protests. Western officials throughout the region have fled. A handful have been killed. Embassies have been ransacked and destroyed. The protests were in response to a low-budget, poorly made film created mainly by non-Americans that mocked and ridiculed Islam and the prophet Mohammed.

The White House responded to last week’s uprisings by apologizing profusely and throwing up the white flag.

Contrast that with Charlie Hebdo, a small, relatively obscure French magazine.

There’s no doubt this decision was provocative, and it’s easy to argue that it was reckless and entirely unnecessary. But there’s another way to look at this, as Stephane Charbonnier, the magazine’s editor, explained: “We have the impression that it’s officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists. It shows the climate—everyone is driven by fear, and that is exactly what this small handful of extremists who do not represent anyone want—to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave.”

Charbonnier is spot on in his assessment that much of the world lives in fear of radical Islam. The official response in France and throughout Europe to Charlie Hebdo’s provocative cartoons has been disgust and condemnation. In reality, however, there’s no doubt that many Europeans, both on the street and within governments, are fed up with being bullied by radical Islam.

Why didn’t the French government stop these cartoons? Yes, it’s true that laws protecting freedom of speech technically prevented authorities from stopping Charlie Hebdo running the cartoons. But everyone knows that a national government has the leverage to prevent such things. Yet it didn’t. Why? Not surprisingly, yesterday’s issue sold out within hours.

“French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said anyone offended by cartoons could take the matter to the courts, expressing his ‘disapproval of all excesses.’ But he emphasized France’s tradition of free speech. ‘We are in a country where freedom of expression is guaranteed, including the freedom to caricature,’ Mr. Ayrault said on rtl radio. He said a request to hold a demonstration in Paris against the controversial film would be refused” (Australian, September 20). This makes any protests against the cartoons illegal.

Germany, too, refuses to be bullied. After the German Embassy in Sudan was attacked last week, Berlin didn’t apologize. In fact, one far-right German political party said Germany should screen the Innocence of Muslims in front of Berlin mosques. The German satirical magazine Titanic is following the footsteps of Charlie Hebdo. Its cover will show the wife of the former president, Bettina Wulff, held by a crazy-looking Muslim holding a dagger. The headline reads: “West rises up: Bettina Wulff makes film about Mohammed.”

Its editor in chief, Leo Fischer, insists that it is “on the side of the protesters,” and that the cover is a protest against someone like Bettina Wulff making a controversial film about Islam. But that’s not how the cover is being interpreted. As Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle stated, this basically “pours oil on the fire.” Germany joined France in closing its embassies in some Muslim countries on Friday.

The majority in Germany still oppose antagonizing Islam. Seventy-two percent said they did not want the film to be shown in public while only 21 percent were in favor. Problem is, Germany’s view of the film doesn’t change radical Islam’s view of Germany. Radical Islam hates America, Germany and the West. As events over the past couple of weeks have shown, apologizing and being nice will not curb that rage.

Keep watching Europe. As the cartoon riots indicate, the real clash with Islam will come from Europe, not America.

Muslim Protesters Transition From Streets to Cyberspace

Muslim Protesters Transition From Streets to Cyberspace

DNY59/iStockphoto

While thousands are still storming U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Asia to vent their outrage over the Innocence of Muslims video, tech-savvy radicals are taking the protests into cyberspace.

On Tuesday, a group calling itself “cyber fighters of Izz ad-din al qassam” claimed Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase as its latest victims. Customers found themselves unable to access the websites of these financial institutions owing to an attack believed to be a distributed denial of service hit that congests networks with computer traffic.

Prior warning had been posted on PasteBin, a bulletin board popular with cybercriminals. It explained:

[The] United States of America, with the help of Zionist regime, made a sacrilegious movie insulting all the religions, not only Islam. All the Muslims worldwide must unify and stand against the action. Muslims must do whatever is necessary to stop spreading this movie. We will attack them for this insult with all we have. All the Muslim youths who are active in the cyberworld will attack … American and Zionist Web bases as much as needed such that they say that they are sorry about that insult. We … will attack the Bank of America and New York Stock Exchange for the first step. These targets are properties of American-Zionist capitalists. This attack will be started today at 2 p.m. gmt. This attack will continue till the erasing of that nasty movie. Beware this attack can vary in type. Down with modern infidels. Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.

National security officials, however, are asserting that these cyberattacks were carried out by the government of Iran and that the cyber fighters of Izz ad-din al qassam are just a cover. Head of the Homeland Security Policy Institute Frank Cilluffo reported to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Homeland Security that “the government of Iran and its terrorist proxies are serious concerns in the cyber context. What Iran may lack in capability, it makes up for in intent. They do not need highly sophisticated capabilities—just intent and cash—as there exists an arms bazaar of cyberweapons, allowing Iran to buy or rent the tools they need or seek.”

Whether the cyber fighters of Izz ad-din al qassam are operating independently or as a disguised subdivision of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the potential harm is immense. Real or manufactured outrage has toppled governments in the Arab Spring and triggered numerous violent attacks to U.S. embassies in the recent Muslim uprisings, supposedly over a video that had been on YouTube two months before September 11.

As these radicals are rallying supporters to electronic warfare, America remains vulnerable to cyberattack. Acknowledging this weakness, a U.S. intelligence official said that “an attack on America through cyberspace is destined to happen,” in the words of Fox News. Privately-owned computer networks are the most vulnerable and legal hurdles prevent much from being done about it. “I hope this isn’t one of those situations where we won’t do what we need to do until we get slammed,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Wednesday.

In his January 1995 article, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry described computer dependence as America’s Achilles heel. “Will one of God’s curses come upon us in the form of computer terrorism? We are not receiving God’s blessings. We are being cursed,” he wrote. Read The United States and Britain in Prophecy to understand the cause that effects curses and blessings.

Making Sense of America’s Bungled Response to Muslim Rage

Making Sense of America’s Bungled Response to Muslim Rage

RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/GettyImages

Daniel 11 isn’t the only Bible prophecy being fulfilled right now in the Middle East.

Over the past several years—and for good reason—we have constantly referred you to a prophecy in Daniel 11:40-43, an end-time prophecy that describes Iran’s aggressive and pushy foreign policy. We’ve also told you about the prophesied radicalization of Egypt, followed by Libya and Ethiopia.

In viewing America’s bungling response to Muslim rage over the past two weeks, another prophecy keeps coming to mind. In Isaiah 3:4, the prophet says “babes” will rule over our peoples in these latter days. Of course, God isn’t talking about actual adolescents occupying the White House. What He means is that the adults ruling our peoples today will lead like children.

Isaiah’s prophecy, like the one in Daniel 11, is being fulfilled before our eyes.

The day before Islamic radicals attacked the U.S. embassy in Egypt and murdered the American ambassador in Libya, the Washington Post revealed that during the course of his presidency, Barack Obama had skipped out on 56 percent of his daily intelligence briefings. According to the report, the president’s attendance was even less frequent in 2011 and 2012 than it was during the first two years of his presidency.

In other words, the deeper he gets into his presidency, the more his interest in foreign policy diminishes. That’s what we learned on September 10. The day after that, we have since learned, Ambassador Chris Stevens was visiting the terror-infested city of Benghazi, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, with practically no security detail to protect him.

Amid the explosive events that followed this monumental lapse in security and intelligence, it’s easy to forget that the other big news on September 11, before we heard about Cairo and Benghazi, was President Obama’s refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he travels to America next week.

At first, the White House responded to the backlash of criticism by saying Israel never requested a meeting. Then it revised its position, saying President Obama couldn’t meet with Netanyahu because of a “scheduling conflict.”

Israeli officials fired back by saying Israel had requested a meeting in New York and suggested the prime minister could also meet the president in Washington. America’s most dependable ally in the Middle East was basically accusing the White House of lying.

At about this same time, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted the Obama administration for its “disgraceful” response to the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi. While under attack, remember, Embassy Cairo had tweeted several statements that expressed sympathy for the Salafist mob that was outside the compound desecrating the U.S. flag.

Those embassy comments were later deleted after news broke about the deadly attack that followed in Benghazi. The Obama administration tried to distance itself from the embarrassing tweets by saying the statements hadn’t been cleared by the White House and did not reflect the views of the U.S. government. But this was hardly the first time a U.S. embassy had issued a statement condemning those who would offend Islam. In 2010, for example, after an unknown Florida pastor made a few headlines for burning Korans, the U.S. embassy in Pakistan expressed deep concern about the “deliberate attempts” of some who would “offend members of any religious or ethnic group.”

Before Chris Stevens was murdered, in fact, it had been standard protocol for the Obama administration, including its embassies around the world, to routinely apologize for offending Muslims. But after widespread outrage in the U.S. over the government’s feeble response to last week’s terrorist attacks, the White House immediately threw its Cairo Embassy under the bus and walked away.

This, however, didn’t stop the administration from continuing its policy of sympathizing with extremists, even justifying their anti-American violence. The violence was not a response to U.S. policy, the Obama administration or the American people, said White House press secretary Jay Carney. “It is in response to a video,” he said last Friday.

While he was saying that, anti-American violence was erupting all over the world. In Tunisia, Islamist protesters scaled the wall of the U.S. embassy compound, broke windows, started fires and raised the black flag of Al Qaeda over the embassy. In Sudan, a mob of 5,000 protesters marched right by Sudanese policemen and set the German Embassy on fire. In Lebanon, one person was killed, two wounded and a restaurant was set on fire during protests that coincided with Pope Benedict’s visit. In Yemen, the United States dispatched Marine reinforcements to fend off attacks. In London, 200 protesters burned American and Israeli flags outside the U.S. Embassy. And in Sydney, Muslim protesters were waving signs that read, “Behead all those who insult the prophet.”

The United States was under attack. And many news outlets even predicted the violent escalation ahead of time because when tensions are riding high in the world of Islam, the jihadists among them tend to riot after they leave their Friday worship services.

Yet, despite the prospect of widespread protests last Friday, it was business as usual in the Oval Office. President Obama met with the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams on the South Lawn, was interviewed by an entertainment magazine, participated in a photo shoot with a Spanish photographer and attended a campaign fundraising dinner that night. Meanwhile, his spokesman was desperately trying to convince Americans that these attacks were merely spontaneous demonstrations that had nothing at all to do with anti-Americanism.

Many Americans knew they were being lied to. They wanted answers. Who was responsible for the Benghazi attack? How did Libyan “protestors” obtain such a deadly arsenal of high-grade weapons? And why was security detail around Ambassador Stevens practically non-existent?

The State Department responded to these many questions and concerns by essentially telling reporters to stop asking questions!

Then there was the embarrassment on Sunday, when Libyan President Mohamed Yousef told cbs’s Face the Nation that he had “no doubt” that it was a terrorist attack in Benghazi and that it had been planned ahead of time.

That same hour, on abc’s This Week, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told Jake Tapper that the attack was not premeditated. It was a “spontaneous” protest that was inspired by the violence in Cairo—which, of course, happened because of the video. The Benghazi “protest” was then “hijacked” by “clusters of extremists” and the whole thing just sort of “evolved” from there, Rice said.

On Tuesday, President Obama flew to New York for an interview with comedian David Letterman and to attend a ritzy fundraising event with hip-hop artists Beyonce and Jay-Z. In Washington, Jay Carney attempted to clarify the administration’s evolving position about Benghazi. Carney said the video was still the “precipitating factor” in all of the violent activity, but all the evidence had not yet been collected.

“I am not, unlike some others, going to prejudge the outcome of an investigation and categorically assert one way or the other what the motivations are or what happened exactly until that investigation is complete,” Carney said four days after he had categorically asserted that the video was solely to blame.

Yesterday, 10 days after Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were murdered, the Obama administration finally admitted it was a terrorist attack—sort of.

“It is, I think, self evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” Jay Carney said.

Last night, however, President Obama dialed that back several notches, saying the video was definitely used as an excuse for violence and that the investigation was still ongoing.

Meanwhile, evidence confirming what should have been self-evident 10 days ago is piling high. The attack in Benghazi was a premeditated strike on an ambassador who had been specifically targeted by Al Qaeda, cnn confirms. In fact, cbs News is now reporting that there wasn’t even an anti-American protest outside the Benghazi consulate on September 11. No hijacking. Just a 400-man army that attacked the U.S. consulate with high-grade weaponry.

cbs also says it is clear that the American public will not receive a detailed account of what happened in Benghazi until after the U.S. presidential election in November.

In the meantime, the pace of prophetic events will continue to accelerate. All across the Middle East, you see neon signs of America’s full-scale retreat. We took out Saddam and handed Iraq to Iran. Afghanistan will be served up next. We left Iranian protestors high and dry during the Green Revolution and then made the tragic mistake of enabling Islamic uprisings in Egypt and Libya. And we’ve totally abandoned Israel—the only Mideast nation, by the way, where there never seems to be any protests outside the U.S. Embassy.

As Charles Krauthammer recently said, the jihadists in the region are saying, “This is our time.”

And it is their time. Daniel 11:40-43 confirms it. But it’s all happening so incredibly fast because of another prophecy that highlights how naïve and childish America’s leadership would be in these latter days.

Millions Protest Austerity in Spain and Portugal

Millions Protest Austerity in Spain and Portugal

PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/GettyImages

Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied in Spain and Portugal on September 15, to protest their governments’ austerity measures. They came four days after around 1.5 million gathered in Barcelona calling for Catalonia to become independent from Spain.

The economic crisis is forcing both countries to make tough decisions. Portugal is changing social security contributions, raising the amount workers have to pay and lowering the amount companies pay. Employees’ contributions have risen from 11 percent to 18, while employers’ contributions have fallen from 25 percent to 18.

Many are outraged at losing 7 percent of their income. Organizers estimated that around 670,000 turned out to protest over 40 cities, but tv channel estimates put that figure considerably lower.

In Spain, media outlets estimated that at least 50,000 marched in Madrid, as the government struggles to avoid requesting a full bailout package. They have raised sales tax from 18 to 21 percent, cut eliminated bonuses for government workers and reduced unemployment benefits.

But the most discontent comes from Catalonia. The regional government in Catalonia is running out of money and needs a bailout from the government. The government, who can ill afford these bailouts, wants to place strict conditions on the regions receiving them. But Catalonia is a rich region that generates more than enough money to finance itself. It has to subsidize Spain’s poorer regions under the nation’s tax structure. They are outraged at having to submit to government conditions simply to get more of their own money back.

Catalonia’s leader, Artur Mas, wants the region to gain “fiscal sovereignty.”

The protests risk breaking open old wounds in Spain. Catalonia was on the losing side in the Spanish civil war in the 1930s.

Spain and Portugal are heading down the same road as Greece. The division and unrest will only get worse as the harsh reality of the financial crisis becomes clear.

Large-scale unrest helped bring dictators to power across the world in the 1930s. This domestic instability will transform into international instability. Continue to watch unrest in Europe closely.

German Army Advertises ‘Adventure Camps’ to Teens

German Army Advertises ‘Adventure Camps’ to Teens

Cotton Puryear

The German army has teamed up with a glitzy teen magazine to advertise “adventure camps” to German youth as it tries to persuade young people to join, now that conscription is no longer in force.

The magazine’s website shows young people enjoying the beach, playing volleyball and scrambling over rocks. The magazine, Bravo, is the army’s media partner in the camps, and the ads prominently feature on its homepage, www.bravo.de.

Children’s rights experts in Germany are outraged. “This misleading advertisement in youth media violates the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the particular duty a government has to protect children,” said expert from Terre des Hommes, Ralf Willinger, reports Spiegel Online.

“The Bundeswehr’s advertising is becoming more intensive, both quantitatively and qualitatively,” he said.

The children’s rights activities quoted by Spiegel made clear that they believe any military recruiting aimed at children is wrong, so they would oppose the military’s participation in school career fairs in the UK and U.S.

The German army’s efforts to appear “cool” to young people are not surprising. Since the army ended conscription, its recruiting efforts have to be ratcheted up. The most promising targets for recruitment? Young people just turning 18, and trying to determine what to do with their lives.

But this news is still disturbing. From 1871 until 1945, Germany was, for the most part, a military state. The end of conscription is changing the much quieter role of the military has played since that time. Germany has never tried this before. The military is going through its greatest change in several generations. Watch for this type of recruiting to increase as the army grows to play a bigger role in German life.

Dramatic Rise in U.S. Obesity and Related Diseases

The number of obese adults is on course to dramatically increase in all 50 U.S. states over the next 20 years, according to a report published on Tuesday.

America’s current obesity rates range from Mississippi’s high of 34.9 percent to Colorado’s low of 20.7 percent, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the new report released by Trust for America’s Health said that, by 2030, Mississippi’s obesity rate will have swelled to 66.7 percent, and Colorado’s to 44.8 percent.

If obesity rates maintain their current trajectories, by 2030, 13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have rates above 50 percent, and all 50 states could have rates above 45 percent.

Estimates for the medical costs of treating America’s current adult obesity range from $147 billion to $210 billion per year. And the new report anticipates a dramatic increase in these costs, as well as in obesity-related disease rates.

But why is obesity such an epidemic in Anglo-Saxon nations, most particularly the U.S.? Obesity has swelled in inverse proportion to the reduced emphasis on physical activity in schools and communities. It is also surging in inverse relation to the decline of the traditional-family, home-based lifestyle.

Society’s dramatic loosening in standards of behavior, manners and morals has also removed shame from the equation. Once, obesity would have been viewed as a character problem and a weakness reflecting a lack of wholesome pride in appearance. But for so many people, those days are gone.

God inspired Moses to prophesy about this startlingly specific facet of the result of the Anglo-Saxon nations’ rebellion against Him: “Thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness” (Deuteronomy 32:15). The Hebrew for the phrase “covered with fatness” means to be literally “covered with fat flesh.” The term thick comes from the Hebrew meaning “dense,” which can apply physically and intellectually.

To learn how you can avoid being a part of the intensifying obesity pandemic, read our article “Help Yourself to Radiant Health.”